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February 18, 2020

Should the Eagles have interest in Lions CB Darius Slay?

Eagles NFL
021820FletcherCoxDariusSlay Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Fletcher Cox and Darius Slay

The Philadelphia Eagles badly need help at cornerback, and a quality cornerback has reportedly become available for a trade. As such, the Eagles are going to be connected to said cornerback, which in this case is the Detroit Lions' Darius Slay, a player that (a) a Jim Schwartz-led team drafted in 2013, and (b) the Eagles were rumored to have interest in at the 2019 trade deadline.

Slay only has one year left on his contract, and it appears that he wants to be the highest-paid corner in the NFL. The Lions would clearly like to trade Slay, and they were sure to tell Adam Schefter that they are "adamant" about his value.

Slay has been something of an underrated corner in the NFL for some time, having played on a bad Lions team that doesn't often get national exposure. It was pointed out that he has been to three straight Pro Bowls, and he leads NFL with 82 pass breakups since 2015.

While the above is certainly true, Slay was probably undeserving of a Pro Bowl nod in 2019, as he battled a hamstring injury, and had a down year. Additionally, Slay's pass breakup and interception numbers are down drastically since a monster year in 2017, when he led the NFL with 8 picks and 26 PBUs. 

Unfortunately for the Lions, Slay's value was at its highest at the trade deadline last year. Now, other teams around the league have plenty of other options, including a decent cornerback group in free agency that includes Byron Jones, Chris Harris, Jimmy Smith, Logan Ryan, Bradley Roby, Trae Waynes, James Bradbury, and others, none of whom will require draft pick compensation to acquire. 

The best the Lions can reasonably hope for is a Day 2 pick, which the Eagles would be unwise to part with, in my view, as Howie Roseman started off his end-of-season press conference by rightly noting that the Eagles had to get younger.

"Going forward we need to infuse youth in this team," he said. "We have 10 draft picks. We think we're going to have 10 draft picks in this draft and we're excited about that. When we look at what the young players did for our team down the stretch, it's a great tribute to them; it's a great tribute to our coaching staff and it’s a great tribute to our developmental program that we take a lot of pride in."

So to recap, should the Eagles trade for Slay:

  1. It'll probably cost them a second- or third-round pick, when they badly need those picks to turn into cheap, young players who can contribute.
  2. After parting with a high pick, Slay will have all the leverage he needs to coax a contract that will make him the highest-paid corner in the NFL.
  3. The new money portion of any new deal with Slay will begin when he's 30 years old. 
  4. And oh by the way, Slay had a down 2019 season.

Factoring in age and the cost to acquire, if I'm the Eagles and I'm looking at my menu of options, there are other more appealing cornerbacks to pursue.


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